By Steven Cochran
The dictionary defines homecoming as “the return of a group of people usually on a special occasion to a place formerly frequented or regarded as home especially.” Anyone who has ever had any ties, be it educational, through family, or a devoted fan knows that there is nothing like being able to call a place like Ole Miss home.
What is it that makes homecoming so special to people?
Many people look forward to the camaraderie and excitement of hanging out with old friends, meeting new friends, discussing the big game, the season so far, the season to come, enjoying good food and great drinks while dressed in the finest of game day attire. Theres just a certain special feeling that brings a smile to faces and feels the air with the incredible sounds of loud cheers, high fives, and roaring laughter.
To anyone that has ever attended a football game at our beloved university, this sounds just like any given Saturday in the Grove. Every home gameday that you will experience is one of welcoming smiles, students, alumni, and super fans dressed in their best, pompoms in their back pocket, or perfectly placed in the side of the young ladies’ cowboy boots. So just what is it that makes a homecoming week so special at Ole Miss if all these things that happen once a year at every other school in the country are happening every Saturday in Oxford?
What makes it special is seeing the love of students campaigning for their spot on the homecoming court, the desire to go all out in expressing their love and passion for the University in their desire to reach out to as many of the thousands of students walking the campus daily in hopes of going in their votes to be elected as Mr. and Ms. Ole Miss. The excitement and hard work by the Greek organizations putting together the perfect float for the big parade and pep rally that takes over the square. All these activities take place with the hopes of making others to love our Ole Miss as much as we do. The desire to let everyone know that at Ole Miss we truly are family, and we are a welcoming family, a loving family, and a family that stick together through all the ups and downs that life may bring.
Standing on the Square waiting for the parade to arrive, total strangers, carry on conversations, explaining to the out-of-towners, what a Hotty Toddy is. As each float, or car passes they are greeted with a genuine love and applause of thanks for representing this beloved university that we cherish so much.
Then it happens—the mighty Pride of the South begins to play and for a brief second there is an immediate silence as you see the twinkle in the little girls eye that dreams of one day wearing that cheerleader uniform is the exact twinkle followed by a small tear drop of the alumni from the earlier days beaming with pride for his home, and his family. The silence is quickly filled with loud chants of “Go Rebs!’ Thunderous applause and cheering.
Still haven’t answered your question as to what makes homecoming at Ole Miss so special?
It’s not homecoming that makes Ole Miss special. It’s the love and dedication and welcoming arms of Ole Miss that makes homecoming an every day event which is what makes us the flagship of the state, and the place I am proud to call home. Once you become a part of Ole Miss there is no need to return home, as home is always in your heart and soul. Everyday is homecoming when you’re an Ole Miss Rebel, we just choose one day of the year to put a crown on one of the many beautiful queens that walk our campus to make it official.